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ELLIOT CARTER INTERVIEW

(An interview I did with one of my musical heroes, Elliott Carter.)

Lesh: I'm Phil Lesh, here in the chorus room of the San Francisco Opera Company, with our greatest living composer, Elliott Carter.

Carter: I doubt that.

Lesh: Well, others disagree with you sir, and I've been looking forward for a long time to ask you a few questions about your music and other things. My first hypothesis is that 20th century music from Stravinsky and Debussy onward has been more heavily influenced by cinema because of its ability to distort and transform space [inaudible] by any other art form. Do you feel that your work, which has advanced far beyond those composers in the use of cinematic techniques, such as cross-cutting and montage, has been directly affected by cinema, or have those characteristics evolved from your musical thinking in general?

Carter: Oh, I feel that my music is very much influenced by cinema. I saw back when I was very young those films of Eisenstein and Potemkin and the rest of them and that had left an indelible impression on me, not only because of the content but also by the way they're put together, the sense of motion and the sense of background, not only of foreground, but of background, of moving backgrounds of one sort or another. It was very, very skillful in a way that we didn't see very much after that time. There was a whole period of the Russian cinema that developed very interesting kinds of cross-cutting. The idea, for instance, of stopping an action just before its culmination, which is something that I've done in a number of pieces, was something that I thought was very remarkable. So it certainly has had an influence on me.

The idea also of telling a story from all sorts of different points of view is something that the camera does remarkably, I think.

Lesh: I perceive in your music a very definite sense--oh, let me try that again.

I perceive in your music a very definite sense of harmonic direction in spite of the fact that it has no traditional tonal relationships. It seems to me as if certain chords which are unique to each piece, they turn up at structural pivot points, acting as resolution points even if they're not tonics, as such. Or are they tonics [inaudible]? How do you get them to act like a singularity, drawing the music to them, acting as gravitational points?

Carter: I've studied a lot--I've thought a lot about this and I can't really say that I have a specific formula for it, but I'm really very concerned with what you're talking about and I try very hard to give a sense of motion and direction and I try it in all sorts of different ways. Obviously in music not merely do you have to have a change of harmony, for instance, but you can have the change of position of the harmony, and the sense of tension, for instance, in chords, is very different when the notes are widely spaced and when they're close together. And that was true in old harmony as it is in any kind of harmony and I use this as a way of moving the music along. There are blander places which are more widely spaced, let's say, or thicker. For instances, the idea of thickness of texture is one way of giving propulsion, that one can add more and more notes in order to make the thing sound as if it was getting more intense. And there are many, many techniques that are rather hard to describe because they almost always fall into my head as I'm writing the piece and I do it differently each time.

But on the whole there are these simple techniques of acceleration of speed, of intensification of the harmony, partly by adding notes and also partly by changing the intervals. Certain intervals, of course, have more tension than others, and I use all of these techniques. But I am very old-fashioned in that particular sense that I like to have the music move in the way you describe, having a propulsive line from beginning to end. It's not always so easy to achieve with modern--

Lesh: Non-tonal music, yeah--

Carter: --dissonant, consistently dissonant music, but I do my best.

Lesh: Well, the results speak for themselves. Is the principle of complementarity of interval content--let me try that again.

Is the principle of complementarity of interval content active in your work? What principles--if not, what principles generate musical material?

Carter: Well, of course--what you mean by complementarity is an interval-like minor second can become a major seventh if you turn the number. You turn it upside down, so to speak. That is something I've used in various pieces, partly to identify the different parts. We'll have a piece, for instance, which will have six or five of the intervals in one position and it will be answered by the other, the complements of all of those intervals by another thing. For instance, in the harpsichord--in the double concerto of a harpsichord and piano--the piano has one set of intervals and the harpsichord has the inversion of those intervals, a complementary element of those [inaudible]. That was used mainly to keep the sound of the two groups separate from each other [inaudible]. Well, it's not really very clear I think to most users who listen, they don't know that that's happening, but they are aware that somehow they sound different.

Lesh: And that they complement each other instead of just being different.

Carter: Yeah, that's right.

Lesh: I'm curious about the harmony book, which is a compendium of all possible non-diatonic chords and their relationships, unless that's not exactly what it is. Could you describe the principles that were used [inaudible]?

Carter: Well, my basic--well, let me say that the harmony book is the reason why I've never tried to have it published nor even have tried to show it to many people because it was [inaudible] worked out pragmatically. Each piece was required a new step in this direction, that there was one piece that I wanted to know what all the four-note chords were. There are twelve three-note chords, for instance, and 29 four-note chords and so forth. And I wanted to know just how these chords related to each other and the harmony book began to find, for instance, what two-note intervals are and three-note chords, and what two-note [inaudible] and four-note chords and what so forth and so on. The harmony book is basically an indication that--say a six-note chord will contain two three-note chords and any given six-note chord will have those two sets and I can use those different things in order to go from one kind of a chord to another. I want to hold one of the three-note chords and move to another series. It was done pragmatically simply to find out how this all worked while I was writing a piece. When I wrote the concerto for orchestra, (Lesh: which we're going to play) I was very interested in five-note chords, for instance. And I analyzed all the detailed, all the kinds of five-note chords. I think there are 38 of them. And find out how many four-note chords there were in each one and what types they were and so forth.

Lesh: So it's organized according to the components that go into each chord?

Carter: That was the components and also the reverse, that is what note added to a four-note would produce five-note chords. That's the organization of it, but it's not logically organized because I didn't number the chords in a consistent system. Actually, the chords that interest me the most had the lowest numbers and that was wrong from the point of view of pedagogically wrong because it really doesn't make sense to anybody else but me.

Lesh: So it's just a personal notebook that you [inaudible].

Carter: That's right. I found I was doing it over and over again, so finally I wrote it out in a book so I wouldn't have to do it constantly, to start over from zero, from scratch.

Lesh: You've said somewhere in print that your studies of Bach cantatas and earlier music in the '30s made a counterpointist out of you. How did you approach Bach's counterpoint and how did you--how were you able to apply his [inaudible] to your own concerns?

Carter: Well, of course, Bach is one kind of counterpoint. Actually, the counterpoint which has interested me more, even in my earlier time, was the counterpoint of madrigal composers, earlier composers, Renaissance and pre-Renaissance composers, where they often made layers of different types of music sounding together [inaudible] and some religious pieces on that plain song there would be all kinds of different things and there are even old pieces in which there was various, different texts and different languages sung at the same time. I actually wrote such a piece, partly under the influence of these pieces written in the very earliest part of the Renaissance in the 14th and 15th century. So that had a great influence. Then the sense of propulsion and expression in Bach was very, very important to me. It seemed to me how Bach using such a very limited type of harmony and a limited kind of rhythm and even very limited range of instruments, was able to get, with the finest shading, finest, slightest changes of harmony and accidentals of sharps and flats, could make a very powerful impression. This is something that's always impressed me a great deal and been very--I always hoped I could do that.

Lesh: Sounds to me like--well, we'll get to some of that in a minute.

Your melodies--and I use the term "melody" advisedly--I'm sure that a lot of people who might be listening in might not think of your music as being particularly melodic. I hear melodies all over it, embedded in it, and sometimes to me they proliferate like a garland of flowers.

Carter: Oh, that's nice to hear.

Lesh: I've read that you studied north Indian music at one point. Was there any connection between your study of north Indian music and the way that this rhapsodic song?

Carter: Well, I certainly, certainly have been very interested in the kind of, in certain pieces. There've been an attempt, particularly an anniversary [inaudible] to a certain extent [inaudible] to make this kind of a big rhapsodic thing that moved all over the entire range of the instrumental sounds, and not to [inaudible] make melodies that were not repetitive material but constantly flowed on actually because this is part of what we all thought about when we were very young and everybody got very interested in plain song and plain song does that. It doesn't really go around and around one thing, but it goes on and on in different--you're constantly developing new things. And then also the music of--that [inaudible] music I used to hear when I was living in Berlin, there was a group of people that sang that, the Dagar brothers, and it was really extraordinary how they could sing what was a melodic line that last two hours, four of them, and they'd pass the line from one to the other. The tenor would pass it to the baritone and the baritone would pass it to the bass. And it would go on and on. It would get faster and slower [inaudible]--

Lesh: It would never repeat itself. Yes.
One of the elements in your work that makes it sound to me so American is the rhythm. Most melodic accents seem to be offbeat, like bebop and modern jazz. The climaxes never quite seem to be in synch and there's always some element that won't let it rest. Were you able to hear in the '40s any of the Bach musicians?

Carter: Of course I used to be very interested in jazz and pianists like Fats Waller and others and one of the things that struck me always about this was the music of that time was based on a regular beat that a drummer played or the double bass. Meanwhile, instrumentalists against it would improvise things that were, as you say, off the beat and seldom on the beat, and then I discovered that this was not a new thing, that [inaudible] Viennese waltzes, they played them that way too. And I remember my teacher, Nadia [inaudible], showing me how Paderewski played Chopin. He also did the same thing. He played the mazurka rhythm and the bass very sharply and against it the Chopin stuff would be very loose and very rhapsodic. And this has been something that's stuck to my music for a very long time. It goes through all of my music. Sometimes I do a good many different improvisations all at once. That's another matter.

Lesh: A main principle that seems to operate rhythmically in your music is hemiola [?] which is the metamorphosis of three beats into two and to two beats of three.

Carter: Sometimes it's more than that. I mean, sometimes it's four to five and the rest of it.

Lesh: How do you calculate the [inaudible] and the note values when you're modulating in that manner?

Carter: How do I what?

Lesh: How do you calculate the [inaudible] in the note values?

Carter: I don't calculate it. Well, I calculate it--

Lesh: In other words, dotted sixteenths with equal--

Carter: Oh yeah, oh yeah, of course. But the point is that I--I wrote back in 1950, '51, I calculated all of this when I was in Tucson, enormous length, and that has remained something I don't have to do much calculating with. [inaudible]

Lesh: Once it's done, you have it all there.

Carter: I have it all done. I never did such a complicated piece as my first-string quarter which does this continuously on every level and most of my pieces are comparatively simpler than that in terms of this similar things to hemiola, but mainly the idea was the desire for a constant flow in the music, a desire to have one rhythm emerge from another and be part of the integral feeling with the previous rhythm and a desire to push on. I discovered also that what was very interesting was the upbeat, that people aren't very concerned with the upbeat, especially modern music, I find, and I was very--what happens is if you have this kind of polyrhythm and hemiola nobody knows where the downbeat is, nobody knows where--so it gives the impression that the whole piece is one long upbeat and that's what I like.

Lesh: Yeah. Yes. Looking at the score of your new partita, it has more the look of Anniversary than of the violin concerto, let's say. Do some of the problems or preoccupations of composition carry over from one work to another or are they redefined anew with each piece?

Carter: Well, to tell the honest truth I try very hard to--I can't say I try very hard, but what I really want to do is to have something in the piece, in the new piece, that challenges me in a way that I haven't been challenged before. I want to find something that's exciting and fun and interesting to do that I hadn't done and each of my pieces approaches things from what to me sounds like a different thing, a different point of view. I imagine that to other people it's not that noticeable, but the partita, for instance, while it may sound like the Anniversary in its method, it is really very much concerned with the analysis of a particular chord. It has all the six-note chords, it contains all the three-note chords, and the piece keeps coming back to ideas that involve this particular progression and even the melodic material comes out of that. Everything comes out of it. I thought it would be interesting to try and write a work that did that. It was a chord that I discovered in writing out my harmony book many years ago and I thought this time I'd really give it a try.

Lesh: So at that point you just sort of put this chord aside and said someday I'll do something with this?

Carter: That's right.

Lesh: And make a twenty-minute piece out of it.

Carter: Yeah, well I--I mean after all those triads are all one chord and they can make--Berlioz can go on, Wagner can go on for hours.

Lesh: Just those little three-notes chords, really.

I also sense a delight in the play aspect of composition. Let's see what happens if I turn this upside down or inside out. During the elaboration of a piece, do you occasionally just compose for the fun of it at the expense of compositional rigor?

Carter: I don't believe in compositional rigor. I don't think that my music follows--even in what I was just saying, it's not rigorous in this sense. In that particular piece, for instance, I had this chord that had interested me a great deal and I wrote out many kinds of things that could be done with it and some I didn't like and some I did and finally there was a piece. Some sounded well and some seemed to join together. It was like that. I don't like compositional rigor. I try actually--I think I make a deliberate effort to sound unrigorous, I think. When it sounds too mechanical, I throw it out the window. I don't want it that way. I want it to me, at least, sounding very fresh and new and not pre-fabricated.

Lesh: Regardless of the surface manifestations could it be said that the flow and pacing of thought and experience and by extension, of consciousness itself, is a proper subject of your music and could that be equally said of all great music?

Carter: Well, it's very hard to talk about that. I think that what you're saying is true, that my music is very much sort of an extension and an attempt to give a way, a picture of human consciousness under many different conditions. Sometimes it's night fantasies, it's about how you can't sleep at night and how different strange thoughts and mixture of thoughts and unclear thoughts and clear ones come and then each of my pieces has a certain choreography or point of view like that, but there--I can see that there are many other kinds of music which I don't write, but I feel that you can't always say this of great music. I think that there have been other great pieces--no, I shouldn't say that--but there have been great pieces that have been written that took another point of view. There are pieces, for instance, that were very interested in the beauty of sound. The Ravel pieces, for instance, have a wonderful sense of how beautiful you can make music sound and how you can make beautiful chords and spacing. And other composers were very interested in producing rather objective, sort of patriotic sounds, or very masculine sort of, or even very delicate things. I think that mine is not really concerned with this primarily. It's much more concerned with the flow of all of these elements as they pass through our mind and it's rather different. I don't think people thought about it that way up until Freud and James Joyce came along.

Lesh: Do you see yourself artistically as part of any ongoing historical tradition or process?

Carter: I have absolutely no idea about that. I think that we are living in a time when history is a very doubtful subject. I wonder what the future can be is really becomes apparently more unpredictable every day that we live and I really couldn't say what an ongoing--people knew in the 19th century, it seems, what the future would be and how progress would happen, but in the 20th century it's very doubtful. We don't even know exactly what it is to progress. The culture, for instance, that we're concerned with in this particular field may be a regression thing than a progressive thing. Who knows? It's a very mysterious thing. I do what I can and I try not to think too much about this subject.

Lesh: We're going to play the Concerto for Orchestra and some other pieces on the program, Elliott. The concerto for orchestra sounds, to me, quintessentially American, even though it's written in what could be called the international post-war non- tonal language. In a sweeping multiplicity it marvelously illustrates which--oh boy, this question is too long and it's got too many words in it. Let me start again.

Your Concerto for Orchestra sounds to me quintessentially American even though it's written in what could be called the international post-war non-tonal language. In it's sweep and multiplicity it marvelously illustrates Whitman's dictum that the United States are essentially the greatest poem. The kinetic experience it offers of being tossed and buffeted by the winds of change strongly evokes the feeling of being an American in the late '60s. Was it a fortuitous coincidence that this most tumultuous of your works took shape during that intensely agonizing period in our country's history, or was it partly a response to the temper of the times?

Carter: I think that--you know, you ask me these questions. I don't really know what the answer is because I don't feel that I am making a conscious decision to do any of the things that you mention. I don't think that--look at the concerto for orchestra, let us say. There are basically two ideas that persisted for a long time and that is that musical performances involve a great many individuals, sometimes one, sometimes two, sometimes a whole orchestra. They're all people who have their own lives and their own special thing and my pieces tried, up until the time of writing this concerto, to show, to give the impression that there were individuals playing a piece. It was a string quartet. Each one of them had their own kind of way of playing, they had their own individuality and then they came together to play a piece. And while they subordinated their individuality to a certain extent, the listener, in the way it was composed, gave the impression still that each one was its own self. So I thought when I write an orchestra piece, that's what I'd like to do with a whole gang. And this produced a big crowd. It was a crowd, it was a piece about a crowd, and what it was like a cinema thing, I thought of it as being--focusing little by little on various elements of the crowd, that the camera zoomed in on one part of the thing and then zoomed in on the other one, but all of the time you were aware somehow that there was this whole crowd in the background.

Now then, in the course of this, and also in the course of efforts to explain this, I found a poem by the French poet Sainte Jean [inaudible] which is very Whitmanesque. It's about America and about winds blowing over America and it seems to me that winds and the motion of crowds was similar in certain respects, so you have quoted that poem partially in the score in order to make it, to help make it clear to most people. But basically the piece was a thought that there were a crowd of people making an effort to play a piece and we were showing you various efforts that were made bit by bit. Sometimes they were--one group played and came to the fore and sometimes another one and there were actually--it's like a symphony, there were four movements, but they're all played together, but sometimes you hear one movement more than the others. That's about what it amounts to.

Lesh: So in a way it was a dissection and an analysis of the process of playing orchestral music itself?

Carter: Yeah. Of course there was another element and that is that I gave each one of the different parts of the different groups, so to speak, and even different characters, rather strongly different characters. The brass had one kind of a character and the high woodwinds had another kind. The high woodwinds had very rapid sort of wind-like things, and then the brass makes sort of a thunderstorm throughout the piece. Sort of like that. But I suppose it's like Whitman. In any case, the poem was about America and about the sense that the spirit among businesspeople was being lost but that there was another kind of a spirit that nature brought in and the rest. So. I guess that's Whitmanesque and it was in the back of my mind.

Lesh: We'll record this later. I'm going to quote from Hart Crane here From the Bridge. This passage From the Bridge seems to anticipate the music you wrote in the symphony of three orchestras. Do you ever find yourself indulging in tone painting?

Carter: Uh--

Lesh: In tone painting, just for fun?

Carter: Well, you know, I suppose I have tone painting in a sense, and certainly in the symphony for three orchestras the picture of New York harbor and the gull flying over it suggested the very long trumpet solo which gradually fades and descends. Everything in that symphony, three orchestras, is one enormous descent. Everything goes downward until finally at the end it ends in deep gloom. But the orchestra starts in the very beginning high up, and the high up naturally not only the sense of the skyscrapers of New York, but also the birds, the gulls, and there was a Dutch movie about it and the gull turned into a helicopter in the course of the movie and that was very nice, too.

Lesh: The Three Occasions was a trilogy, an orchestral trilogy, that sort of gravitated together over a period of time with some inducement from Oliver Knussen, the conductor, to form its present unity. Do you imagine adding any more components to this group or composing in a similar way in the future?

Carter: Well, I don't think I can add more components to this particular group, but I might very well write another group of small orchestra pieces. There have been a number of different people, different orchestra managers and orchestras that have wanted me to write short pieces for them. I don't know whether I'll do them. I have a very big piece I've got to write right now for the British Broadcasting Company and I don't know what I'll do for short pieces after that. Short pieces have a special--they're not so easy, you know. If you want to make a point in a quick thing. I'm very talkative. It takes me a long time to make my point.

Lesh: Well, that's part of the fun of listening to your music. To me, your pieces are always too short.

Carter: Thank you.

Lesh: I would like to have them go on much longer.

Carter: I'm afraid--I think there are members of the audience who would not agree with you.

Lesh: The violin concerto is one of the pieces on the disk that just came out. Oh, congratulations on your Grammy nomination. This is your second Grammy nomination.

Carter: Yes, it is.

Lesh: The oboe concerto was nominated several years ago.

Carter: That's right.

Lesh: I'm planning to vote for you this time. We're allowed to vote [inaudible].

Carter: Oh, you are?

Lesh: [inaudible] Grammies, yeah. So I've told my management to please get me a ballot so I can at least cast a vote. Because when the oboe concerto was nominated, the winner that year was Andrew Lloyd Webber for his Requiem. I thought, well, let's see if we can turn it around a little this year. In any case, the violin concerto seems to me to mark the culmination to date of a movement away from the transcendental complexity of the concerto for orchestra or the third-string quartet. This cast [?] in the traditional three movements and manifests very little of the complicated cross-cutting and time distortion of the earlier works, yet the musical language seems richer and more subtle and the expression more direct. Could this be construed as a move toward comprehensibility or is it the inevitable outcome of the musical implications of your earlier work?

DG: Excuse me, please. Why don't you do that again a little slower?

Lesh: Oh. That's awful long. I don't know if I have enough breath.

DG: It sounds like you were reading it. Yes you do.

I want you to animate the question a little better.

Lesh: We're also going to play the violin concerto. Formally speaking, this piece seems to mark the culmination to date of a movement away from the transcendental complexity of the concerto for orchestra or third-string quarter. It's cast in the traditional three movements and manifests very little of the complicated cross-cutting and time distortion of the earlier works. Yet the musical language seems richer and more subtle and the expression more direct. Could this be construed as a move toward comprehensibility or is it the inevitable outcome of the musical implications of your earlier work?

Carter: I feel that that piece and other pieces that I've written recently are really just a continuation of what I've been doing. I'm not really--I don't--I'm not really concerned with comprehensibility as you put it here in quotation marks because what is clear to me--I've had so much experience with my music being considered incomprehensible by large numbers of members of the audience and very frequently by critics, but very comprehensible to performers who play the piece [inaudible] and they find it's fine. They even want to play it a lot so that finally we hope that the audience will find it comprehensible. So that actually what I'm writing and I've always written is music that to my mind would be comprehensible to performers and I think that was the most important thing. And in this particular instance, I've been hearing a lot of these concertos by contemporary composers, Schnittke and others, where you'd see the violin come out on the stage and play away and you couldn't hear a note he was playing with the orchestra letting out great noises, which is sometimes quite interesting, except that it seemed rather hard on the violinist. So I decided I would write a piece where the violinist plays and it's rather hard. He plays almost all the time in the piece and yet the orchestra somehow manages--does play some, and he seldom ever covers them at all. And this took a good deal of thought on our part, a good deal of imagination. You know, you have a big orchestra, what are you going to make the tuba do while the violin is playing, some stuff like that. I thought it all out and finally came up with this idea. This is not any effort to be simple. It was an effort to make a piece in which the violin was the prominent figure and could sort of have a strong character and all the different characters that his music would have, and how the orchestra makes sort of comments on it in one way or another. Frequently things quite different from the violin. There's a slow movement in which the violin, I think very [inaudible] the violin plays really a melody. There's only one note at a time with spaces between it, but it's a long melody that is just broken up into tiny bits while the orchestra plays sort of waves of sound in the background. That was a thought that I'd never had before.

I'm not interested in being comprehensible in the sense that some composers are. Our public is too diffuse and too uncertain and too unclear to bother too much about what they think at any given moment. We hope that eventually, if history goes the way 19th century people think it was going to go, they finally will understand it.

Lesh: It could be argued that you're the legitimate successor to Charles Ives, that your music, with greatly enhanced concentration and clarity, raises many of his aesthetic concerns, the dramatic multiplicity of voices, the simultaneous [inaudible] to truly transcendental heights. Could you describe your current assessment of Ives' work?

Carter: I've had a good deal--I've changed my mind about Ives many times. He was a friend. He encouraged me to be a composer when I was very young. And I used to love the Concord Sonata and certainly the songs, and also made a great effort to get his orchestral pieces played at a time when nobody wanted to play them. And then I began to be--it worried me when just about two years before he died I decided to try to get his scores into some kind of shape that he would approve of so that they could be played, because a lot of the scores were just scribbles where he'd rewritten them and not erased what he'd written before, so they were just notes written one on top of the other and crossed out. And they were very hard to read. And not only that, but I get the impression of great uncertainty on his part. And I felt, well, maybe we ought to get it straightened out because music does have a very novel point of view in many ways. And I must say that I worked at it and I finally couldn't stand this because the idea that a man couldn't make up his mind began to bother me so much that finally I began to wonder about all of this. There's an awful lot of it that seems to me to be filled with uncertainty, and not only uncertainty of decision, but the idea of what effect this will have when it's played is it seems to be not very well-calculated. He didn't have very much experience except with rather amateurish theater orchestras and when he started to write for a big orchestra, there was a great deal of uncertainty. He has instruments like the bassoon in the middle of a noisy orchestration playing some nonsense, playing an exercise that you get out of a bassoon book. Well, you can't hear it, why does he play? Or if he does play, why doesn't he play something that adds to what's being heard? It's very puzzling. I think that there was an element that Ives really disliked the music profession as he saw it and he was sometimes making fun and really rather angry. There are even angry swipes at the whole thing in some of his music. It's very puzzling and fascinating too.

Lesh: On a slightly more personal note, I heard somewhere that Ives was regarded in cult circles in New York City as some kind of white wizard. In your experience, did you ever experience anything like that?

Carter: I don't know that. I remember years and years ago when we were all very interested in [inaudible]'s music, there was a cult circle that felt that Schönberg was the black wizard. Ives was the white wizard.

Lesh: Ah, okay. That's probably the source of all of that.

Lesh: Okay. John Coltrane once said of Thelonious Monk, "Playing with him is like stepping into an open elevator shaft." Now, I find in your work that same sense of exuberant vertigo, of having discovered anti-gravity, of serious playfulness. It also seems to strike a perfect balance between the freedom of improvisation and the necessity for unity and as such could be described as both the eyes of chaos and the veil of order.

Carter: I think Thelonious Monk is a very remarkable performer. And I'm sure I would have thought that. What's remarkable is the way he plays the piano, the sound he gets out of it and the touch. It's really something very special and very unusual. I don't know what it would be like to play with him, and certainly John Coltrane was very inventive of all sorts of sounds and stuff. They were both remarkable performers and I've liked their music very much. Thank you.

Lesh: Thank you. It's been really a pleasure talking to you tonight.

Reading from "the Bridge"
Double Concerto
Concerto for Orchestra
Symphony of 3 Orchestras
3 Occasions
Violin Concerto


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